USC Price School of Public Policy

Michael Thom


Assistant Professor (Teaching)

Ralph and Goldy Lewis Hall 232
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0626

Phone: (213) 740-1010

Ph.D. in Political Science

Michigan State University


Public finance; retirement; social welfare; taxes; regulatory policy; policy diffusion and innovation; political philosophy; governance; event history modeling

Biographical sketch

Mike joined the University of Southern California following completion of his Ph.D. in public policy and American politics. His dissertation, “Pension Politics: Partisan Influences on Public Sector Pensions,” found several connections between states’ political environments and pension outcomes, including funding levels and reform enactments. Before doctoral study, Mike earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and mathematics with high honor from Michigan State University.

At Price, Mike most often teaches an undergraduate course, Government and Business, and one graduate course, Public Financial Management and Budgeting. He also teaches two additional graduate courses, Public Administration and Society and, most recently, Finance of the Public Sector. His research continues to focus on pension reform, public finance and public policy.

Outside of work, Mike enjoys reading, hiking, watching college basketball and football, and is an avid member of CrossFit.

Recent Conference Presentations:

“Less Money, More Problems? The Effect of Municipal Fiscal Distress on State Policy.” Presented at the 2014 Midwest Political Science Association Meeting. With Twyla Blackmond-Larnell.

“Emergency Financial Managers: Delegated Powers, Fiscal Efficacy and Rising Conflicts.” Presented at the 2013 Association for Budgeting and Financial Management Conference, Washington DC.

“Defined Benefit and Defined Contribution Plans for Public Employees: Results and Lessons from Michigan.” Presented at the 2013 Association for Budgeting and Financial Management Conference, Washington DC.

“Public Sector Pension Reforms: A Typology of State Responses and their Link with Political and Economic Conditions.” Presented at the 13th Annual State Politics and Policy Conference, Iowa City.